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Family organizes bone marrow donor drive for teen with rare blood disease

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DENVER -- On the surface, Oliver and Lukas Larsson are alike in every way they could be. The 16-year-olds are identical twins. But a couple of months ago, this family discovered a serious difference between the two.

“Lukas has a very rare blood disease and the only cure is a bone marrow transplant,” said father, Anders Larsson.

It’s called pediatric myelofibrosis. Essentially, instead of producing blood cells, Lukas’ bone marrow produces scar tissue.

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The Larsson’s discovered something was wrong when Lukas wasn’t quite keeping up.

“We went on vacation in Winter Park and he could hardly climb the slope,” said his mother, Dena. “You could see that he wasn’t well.”

This once active teen is now forced to sit on the sidelines.

“Two of the biggest things in my life are soccer and skiing, and I’m not allowed to do those and I basically can’t because I get tired so easily,” Lukas said.

His only hope is a bone marrow transplant. Sadly, of the 12 million registered donors in the country, none were a match. Now the family is relying on the kindness of strangers to come out and get tested.

“If we find a donor, all is good. Lukas will be cured and he’ll be back in action on the soccer field and on the ski slopes and all that,” said Anders.

If you ask Lukas, he’ll tell you he’s positive this will just be a bump in the road.

“I really just don’t want to let it affect my life too much until it absolutely needs to,” he said.

And he’ll soon be out on the slopes once again.

The family is holding a donor drive Saturday at Dazbog Coffee in Castle Pines (7298 Lagae Road, Castle Rock) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All it takes is a simple cheek swab to get on the registry.

You can also see if you qualify to be a donor by visiting BeTheMatch.org.

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